Part 1: A Cowardly Out(in)?
(Guess I'll write a 'lil story about my character. While I wait to be whitelisted.)
"Don't come here, just keep walking..." Lev prayed to himself in silence, wiping the sweat from his brow as he looked through the scope of his rifle. Perched atop a small hill, he was invisible to the naked eye, covered in grass and hay. This was his spot, so to speak. From here, he saw all of the feasible approaches to the quiet little cabin he called home, just about half a mile to his back. On any normal day, he'd be simply watching out of boredom, or hunting what little game even still existed out here. On rare occasions, he dispatched an infected or two, plucking what little loot they had. Not today, though.
Not today. Just walking out of a clearing, he spotted a pair of humanoid figures. Infected, he'd at first thought, their overall profiles hidden by the dense shade provided from the thick forest they'd emerged from. Then, he saw one of them carrying a machete, and the other clinging to the first. Emerging sparsely into the daylight, they were a pair of survivors. He was surprised, he'd thought by now, the infection had run it's course and he may of been the last human alive. Not that it really mattered, in hindsight. He'd abandoned civilization when he witnessed an entire aid camp, people he'd helped save from the sickness initially, overrun by a literal human wave of rabid infected. He ran, leaving his comrades in the CDF to die. He ran, leaving the sick, the meek, the elderly and children, to die. He left thousands to die without doing a thing, offering them up so he could live. What did it matter if anyone survived, to a coward like him? The pair of survivors slowly walked along the faded trail, one that would eventually lead right up to his position, given twenty minutes of walking or so. As the sunlight washed over them, his eyes widened slightly. Certainly most adults died in the infection, but he assumed children, and even teenagers, would fare far worse. Yet, there they were. Two kids, young as hell. He couldn't tell exactly their age, but they wouldn't pass for highschoolers. That's for sure. Or maybe he was just crazy, and had lost his ability to perceive physical age? They stumbled along the trail, the first, a boy, speaking to the girl in hushed tones as he kept alert. The girl constantly looking behind them. As if to humor her, he glanced at what she was looking at. A trio of forms slithered out from the brush, stumbling as they moved wildly, and violently.
They were being tracked. The girl smacked the boy several times, and the two took off into a sprint. Hovering over them, it was clear these kids were already exhausted. "Don't..don't do it." He gulped once. They were running straight up the path, straight towards him. Their speed carried them towards him, closer, and closer. By now, they had to be within 500 meters. His heart began to pump. Visions of the people who begged him, a soldier, for help as they were pulled away and torn apart rushed through his head. He closed his eyes, grimacing. Ahead, the path was flanked by two large fields filled to the brim with grass, that hid various small ditches, crevices, and other ankle-snapping nightmares. The infected seemed intent on following them, and catching a glimpse, they continued the chase, howling and snarling. The two kids dove to the right, running through the field, hoping to get to a forest line at the end of the widened pasture. He knew they wouldn't get there. There was a small canyon, no wider than 20 meters, that opened up just before it. Those kids wouldn't see it until they were already at it. They'd either fall in - best case, really -, and die, or they'd stop, and be torn apart by the infected. The infected would likely chase after them, and pursue them over the cliff. An easy enough solution, he mused. After all, the kids'd be killed, and the infected would die as well. He'd be alone again. He wouldn't have to answer for his crimes.
'After all, the kids'd be killed...' He paused, blinking several times. Was he really that much of a coward, that he'd rather some kids die than maybe disturb his peace and quiet? Yes, he affirmed, yes he was. He was always called on his lack of bravery, as far back as he can remember. His solution to a problem was to run away from it. His classmates bullied him for it. His siblings chastised him for it. His parents disregarded him for it. He could never keep a cool head, he was told, he'd never be able to be stand big in the world, it was said, because he simply had no spine. They called him 'Rabbit', in school. He was fast, but he always fled. His cowardice extended to stress, and his grades were above passing only barely, despite most people getting a hint he was not only capable and talented, but downright genius-level in intellectual prowess. His father, a former soldier himself, had the boy join the military after highschool. "They'll straighten you out, Lev! You'll be a man yet!" He told him as he was shipped off to basic training. He had to admit, those men he trained alongside gave him confidence. He did well in the training simulations, his written scores off the charts. With a large crew of comrades who encouraged him, he felt some measure of confidence brewing. He even was recommended for officer training after basic. Sadly, a virus breaking out that results in people turning into monsters really puts a hammer to that. But, when did it happen?
When did he regress into being a coward again? Where was the man rebuilt through the military? When did he become even worse? When did he stop being human? "It's not my fault. It's not my fault...." He pounded the dirt next to him, kicking up dry weeds. The infected were closing in on those kids, and they were closing in on that ravine. They were minutes to being a meal, a mess, or both. 250 meters from him, at best. His mind centered on the moment when the mental switch was hit. It was when the infected, seemingly out of nowhere, ripped open the chainlink gate that the camp he was guarding held shut to keep them out. They weren't a crowd, they were a wall of flesh, crying for more recruits. Time seemed to slow as he looked around. People ran, soldiers opened fire, some just...fell down and accepted it. He fled, threw down his rifle and ran. He didn't try to even help a single person. As his mind played it over a thousand times, one image emerged from the sea of horror. A soldier, some guy from another platoon, Gregoriy, he thought. The man was being swarmed by the infected, and was holding one of them by the pantleg as it tried to lunge at a child, who successfully ran away from the horde. Gregoriy disappeared under the pile of infected, but that momentary distraction gave her another chance life. Why would he do that? What motivated him to die for people he didn't know? No, what motivated him to die for people in general? He wouldn't of even done that for his family, for christ's sake! The image of him in his last, valorous moments, it persisted. It kept flashing in his mind. Damn it, why now? Is his own psyche mocking him, now, too? Has simply seeing another living human awoken every bit of guilt he'd been hiding? When did he stop being human? No, that wasn't the question to ask, now.
When can he start again? He began to sweat, his heart about to jump out his throat. 150 meters. They'd been going diagonally compared to him, but they'd be to the crevice soon. The infected were gaining, howling like madmen. Tears welled into his eyes. Why? Why? WHY?! Why now?! What could he do? They were going to die, he couldn't help them without drawing attention to himself! The image of Gregoriy flashed again, and it hurt. He blinked once. He wasn't laying down anymore. He was standing, foliage falling off him. What was he doing? Just let them deal with themselves, he thought. Who would he have to answer him? Who would demand answers? Nobody. He was all alone. With himself. He would judge himself. He would demand answers. His mind was wracked with guilt as is just by seeing them. His ignorance was shattered in a few scant minutes. He dropped his rifle, practically forcing it out of his hand. A bolt-action was no good to him now. No, it would of been, but what he needed to do...he didn't want it. He inhaled once, closed his eyes as he steeled himself. In the end, he was a coward. He was an absolutely selfish person. He would always back down. That's what he was doing now. He was backing down, he was doing this for himself. He was doing this, because he was scared of facing himself after the fact. He was still a coward. But, he couldn't live with himself. So, he did what cowards do best.
What little grass, hay, and whatever else he'd covered himself with was off him in seconds. He ran down the hill, blowing grass by him as he sprinted. The two kids stopped at the crevice, nearly being sent over. "Al-Alexi!"The girl cried, as the boy spun around her, machete in hand. He gulped, shaking. The first infected closed in, teeth gnashing. It lept, and caught the machete in it's skull for it's trouble. It's body pulled the boy down, laying on top of him, and the girl. The other two infected closed in. Alexi thought, for a moment, about how they'd be bitten and killed. That thought however, was changed by another, more curious thought.
Who was that running from the side? Lev impacted into the second and third infected, arms out-stretched as he caught them both. The grip on the third was lost, perhaps for the better, as it went over the crevice, howling. The second however, grappled with Lev even mid-tackle, and the two rolled close to the edge. He ended out on the edge moreso, and was seconds from falling. The infected was on top of him, as he grabbed the creature's throat with one hand. His other was pinned under his own weight as he struggled to free it. He glanced at the kids, who looked at him. "T-there's a Cabin up the trail...it's all yours. Live. Please." He said, he infected's gnashing maw neared ever close, as, for the first time in his life, he acted without a thought towards himself. He rolled himself, and the infected over the edge.
Not bad for a coward, he thought, as he wrestled with the infected, it's body catching the majority of the impacts as they tumbled down. He caught a couple bad falls himself, and the pair spun about, a mess of limbs as the infected's body was sent veering away from him.He rolled, tumbled, and sputtered, catching onto a declining slope that attached to the crevice's bottom. He was caught up in a cloud of dust, before landing back-first into a small river at the end of the slope. His unconscious, or perhaps unliving, form was swept away by the strong currents.
He awoke to the coughing up of water from his own mouth, as a three-fold group knelt over him, his surroundings black. Two of them clearly tending to his injuries, while another had just been providing CPR. "I-I'm not worth it..." He muttered. The last thing he heard before passing out, echoed through his mind as he slipped into the darkness of unconsciousness. "Everybody's worth it."
// END of Part 1
// So! How'd I do? Was it cringey? Probably a 'lil. I'm running on barely enough sleep to type. Dunno if it's allowed to be written before a whitelist, but well. Whatever! Enjoy.
Part 2: From Negative to Zero
Time flew by, as thoughts combined and fettered away like a rolling tide. Lev's mind was on fire as his body was in utter agony. His bouts of consciousness were marked by intolerable pain, and barely being able to breath. But, everytime he awoke, the gentle hands of his saviors calmed him, providing relief from this hazey nightmare. He could hardly even think, much less speak, as his body nearly killed itself from his injuries. But, while his body tried to fight back against various infections from his wounds, one thing stayed permanent and static within his mind, the words from a stranger that have become the lighthouse for his consciousness to find it's way. "Everyone's worth it." His mind played the phrase over anSd over, as weeks swam on. Finally, the seas of his mind calmed, and the light shone through. He awoke with a deep exhale, mind racing, eyes darting around the small room. It was a small thing, a simple wooden shack, with a dresser, broken mirror, and busted window, but it seemed so homely. "Easy, frah. Easy!" Said a man, his accent crisp within his cheery, charismatic voice. He appeared from Lev's peripheral, kneeling down by his bedside. "You're alright, frah. Promise. Just take a deep breath. You've been out for a couple weeks, y'know? Morphine and lots of antibiotics can do that to a guy." Before him knelt a blonde-haired, blue eyed man with a smile that could calm a torrent. He was dressed in a simple t-shirt and jeans. The man placed a hand on Lev's chest, raising his eyebrows as his smile widened a bit. "Chilled now?" Lev gave a nod, coughing once or twice as he moved to sit up on his elbows. The man looked Lev over, giving a nod. He slowly stood up. "You're gonna live, my boy! Don't worry, the Goddess of Fate's got a crush on you yet! I'll be right back, yeah? Need to go get the big guy." Lev narrowed his eyes at the man, shaking his head a bit, before falling back onto the bed. Not bad, not bad at all.
It took only a moment for the young man to return with a far larger, more well-built man. He was massive, Lev guessed at least 6'5, maybe larger. His skin was dark chocolate in color, and his black eyebrows were scowled slightly, his bald head shining slightly. "Right, Mr. Survivor, meet my best friend, Donatello, and me, I'm Giovanni." The large man stared down at the Chernarussian. "You guys, you saved me, right? I-" "Kind of. A group of survivors, helped you out, brought you here. Stayed with us for a bit then left, they gave us a lot of meds for 'ya, to boot." "Yeah, they did most of the hard work. Think you can walk?" The large man bellowed at Lev, sheepishly moved to get out of the bed. Placing his feet forward, he fell to a knee, but slowly rose. "A-ah. I guess I can...guess I'm not dead meat, then..." With a nod, Donatello exited the shack, Giovanni motioning the shirtless, and shoeless, man to follow suit. He did, slowly stepping out into the light. The air was crisp and healthy, it filled his lungs with a tinge of pain as he took his first deep breaths in some time. The cold air rippled across his skin, as the sun bathed him in warmth. The shack they were in was actually part of a small farmstead, attached to a large house by way of a cobblestone path. Surrounding the farmstead was a small wire fence, protecting the large field of apple trees from animals, and the unprepared intruder. "Welcome to our little piece of heaven. We call it La Fantasia." Donatello mused, smirking at Lev, who just sort of...gawked. - To be Continued-